AP PHOTOS: China marks National Day with military might

Balloons are released during the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China in Beijing on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Army vehicles roll down during a parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Chinese leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, stand on Tiananmen Gate above the large portrait of Chinese leader Mao Zedong during a parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. Trucks carrying weapons including a nuclear-armed missile designed to evade U.S. defenses rumbled through Beijing as the Communist Party celebrated its 70th anniversary in power with a parade Tuesday that showcased China's ambition as a rising global force. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Chinese leader Xi Jinping waves from an open-top limousine during a parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Chinese female militia members march in formation during a parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. Trucks carrying weapons including a nuclear-armed missile designed to evade U.S. defenses rumbled through Beijing as the Communist Party celebrated its 70th anniversary in power with a parade Tuesday that showcased China's ambition as a rising global force. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Chinese military vehicles carrying DF-17 ballistic missiles roll during a parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. Trucks carrying weapons including a nuclear-armed missile designed to evade U.S. defenses rumbled through Beijing as the Communist Party celebrated its 70th anniversary in power with a parade Tuesday that showcased China's ambition as a rising global force. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
A man uses his smartphone to film Chinese military planes trail colored smoke as they fly in formation past the sun during a parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. China's Communist Party is celebrating its 70th anniversary in power with a parade showcasing its economic development and newest weapons. The event marks the anniversary of the Oct. 1, 1949, announcement of the founding of the People's Republic of China by then-leader Mao Zedong. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Participants cheer beneath a large portrait of Chinese President Xi Jinping during a parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. Trucks carrying weapons including a nuclear-armed missile designed to evade U.S. defenses rumbled through Beijing as the Communist Party celebrated its 70th anniversary in power with a parade Tuesday that showcased China's ambition as a rising global force. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Members of a Chinese military honor guard march during the the celebration to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Participants wave flags during a parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. Trucks carrying weapons including a nuclear-armed missile designed to evade U.S. defenses rumbled through Beijing as the Communist Party celebrated its 70th anniversary in power with a parade Tuesday that showcased China's ambition as a rising global force. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Soldiers from China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) march in formation during a parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. Trucks carrying weapons including a nuclear-armed missile designed to evade U.S. defenses rumbled through Beijing as the Communist Party celebrated its 70th anniversary in power with a parade Tuesday that showcased China's ambition as a rising global force. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Participants march during the celebration to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

BEIJING — China marked its National Day on Tuesday with a massive parade through the center of Beijing featuring missiles, tanks and thousands of marching troops, along with tributes to the country's Communist Party leaders and the striking economic and social developments achieved since the People's Republic was founded 70 years ago.

Leading the festivities was party leader and President Xi Jinping, who reviewed the troops both from through a standing position in his limousine and the viewing platform above iconic Tiananmen Gate.

Following the show of military might, the parade continued with floats representing the vast nation's far-flung regions and key events such as the opening of the economy in the 1980s, the return of Hong Kong and Macao to China in the late 1990s and the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Bands played and choirs sang, while dancers waved colorful fans and bouquets. Military aircraft flew overhead, leaving colorful contrails in their wake, while balloons were released in a final flourish.

The event was engineered to direct credit for China's achievements on the ruling party, which has built the country into the world's second-largest economy and an increasingly assertive world power, while crushing all political opposition and strictly limiting civil liberties.

In his address, Xi, dressed in a traditional gray Mao suit, said, "No force can shake the status of our great motherland, and no force can stop the progress of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation."

Leaders past and present watched the proceedings from atop the gate that lies at the northern end of sprawling Tiananmen Square.

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